Traditionally, Diplomacy has always been oriented towards government-to-government (G2G) relations whereas traditional Public Diplomacy has been oriented in a Government-to-People (G2P) direction and it included the government’s efforts to inform, influence and engage those publics in support of national objectives and foreign policies.
However, recently public diplomacy has acquired another dimension in the form of P2P or people to people orientation. P2P diplomacy involves all the ways in which governments and private individuals, organizations and groups influence foreign policy directly and indirectly. It includes the public attitudes and opinions that have bearing on government’s foreign policy relations and decisions.
The shift from G2P to P2P is caused by the rise in user-friendly communication technologies that have increased the participation of public in talking about foreign affairs and foreign policy making. Furthermore the increase in people to people exchanges across national borders in both virtual medium and physically.
This shift has resulted in the rise of two different philosophies about public diplomacy’s utility:
- That public diplomacy is a necessary evil, an ancillary tactic supporting conventional diplomacy and
- Public diplomacy as a context for how nations interact with each other.
Relevance of P2P Diplomacy
Today, technology is making practice of public diplomacy more difficult and complicated inside government corridors. The Internet spreads rumours faster than authorities can set the record straight. The challenge for diplomacy in the digital age is to utilize it to monitor as well as respond to the dialogue on the Internet. Whereas the traditional diplomacy took the public for granted, today participatory democracy is highlighted as an important feature of good governance.